Monday, January 31, 2011

Visiting Research sites in Cape Town

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the joint conference between the NRF, SADC Science government officials and IIASA in Cape Town last week. As part of the conference various visiting officials were taken on tours of some of Cape Town's research centres. We had a glorious walk through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where much of the countries biodiversity research is done, as a guide pointed out various species of interest. My favourite section of the gardens is still the Cycad garden and Bird Bath.

Rhodes Memorial and District Six featured as our historical element of the tours. For those unfamiliar with either the context or their meanings I suggest reading up on both. The District Museum is a veritable font of information and the map on the floor that ex-residents have personally filled in on their visits is rather enlightening. The guides are ex-residents and can tell many a story from the time.

Our site visits also included Koeberg Nuclear Power Station(including the inside!) complete with safety boot, earplugs and glasses. Let me just mention at this point that it is loud in there, I do not envy their resident engineers. One of the most interesting parts of the tour was the safety procedures in place and the emergency evacuation strategy in case of an accident.

Another facility that I have done a lot of work with in the past is the Centre of High Performance Computing (CHPC) in Rosebank. Open to research institutions throughout the country and potentially other SADC countries, the CHPC has a number of clusters for simulating various "Grand challenges". A few examples off the top of my head is protein folding, climate modelling, fluid dynamics for planes, ocean current modelling etc. These are applications I have seen presented at CHPC conferences over the years. I am sure there are many more.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

A wedding on the 1st of January is definitely a nice way to start 2011 and especially when it happens to be in Hout Bay overlooking the ocean.

A new year starts with a new set of challenges, thesis chapters to complete and new dancing steps to learn. Hope everyone had an awesome party to ring in the New Year and made a few New Years resolutions (that aren't going to be broken by the end of the week)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Sun Sets on 2010

The perfect end to a interesting and travel filled year...a Cape Town sunset taken across Hout Bay.